Aurum swoops on rival in £81 million acquisition

Brian Duffy, Aurum

Britain’s biggest jewellery and watch retailer, Aurum Holdings, which operates out of Braunstone Frith, just outside Leicester, has acquired Mayors, a chain of 17 prestige jewellers in Florida and Georgia, USA, for $104.6 million (£81 million).

The deal means Aurum will take on 17 new stores, 15 of which will have Rolex concessions and will give the company a foothold in Florida and Georgia and significantly, headquarter offices in Fort Lauderdale.

The news comes as Aurum reveals it is already overseeing a “multi-million pound” investment in its first US Watches of Switzerland store in the lucrative $40 billion Hudson Yards neighbourhood, currently being built on the west side of Manhattan.

That store is scheduled to open in September 2018, with two further New York shops planned and other sites being considered.

Aurum Holdings CEO Brian Duffy says “We are delighted to have entered into an agreement to acquire Mayors by the Aurum Group. We have admired Mayors for some time and see a great deal of similarities with how we operate our business in the UK,” says Brian Duffy, chief executive of Aurum Holdings.

“Mayors has built a fantastic reputation in Florida and Georgia over many decades. We plan to fully utilise the experience and expertise of the team in Fort Lauderdale to support the Aurum plans throughout the US and we look forward to working with our new colleagues at Mayors.

“We are confident that together we will continue to develop the business in a positive way. We acknowledge the hard work and professionalism of the Birks and Mayors teams throughout the negotiations. This announcement follows our announcement to open a flagship Watches of Switzerland store in Hudson Yards NYC and confirms the ambition of our group to be an important part of the Swiss watch market in the USA,” Mr Duffy adds.

Aurum Holdings, is owned by Apollo Global Management, a US-based private equity firm. Last month the company announced it had raised the largest ever private equity fund, amassing $24.6 billion to be invested in North America and Western Europe.

Aurum Holdings owns Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, Goldsmiths and Watchshop in the UK. Turnover last year rose 23% to £565 million, making it the UK’s largest jewellery and watch retailer ahead of Signet Jewelers’ retail brands H.Samuel and Ernest Jones, which notched sales last year of £489 million.